No bar? What, no friggin bar? What about me drinking buddies, and me quiz nights? I won’t stand idly by. They might make our parks into parking lots but by thunder they will never get rid of the local bar, no matter how flee infested it is.
You are the Man, and you have to take a stand. As a barfly it is up to you to stop the construction workers poised to tear down your bar, and the police helping them evict you.
You are only armed with what you got in the bar: bottles of beer, booze and drinks. To throw at the attacking forces simply drag on the screen to set trajectory and power. Most enemies take a couple of hits, and some also come equipped with riot shields forcing you to hit them on the head to get rid of them. There is a total of five different enemies, and all have their own attack and fun animations. For example the fat cop walks around with glazed donuts, and once you hit them hard enough to drop them they perish.
Between levels you can upgrade the morale of your barfly that equals health. There are also different beverages to throw, and you can boost the attack power of both your basic beer and bought drinks.
The first levels are crap with just your basic construction worker attacking you, and I was ready to give up on Bar Defender. Then I got to the first boss battle, and I had to start aiming for the driver of a big ass bulldozer. This paired with the riot shield equipped riot squad really lifts the gameplay, as you also have to aim carefully instead of just throwing bottles as fast as possible. To me that set Bar Defender apart from a lot of other castle defense games as it has a good progression. It is also really fun smashing the cop car, and revealing the package of donuts in the trunk that you have to destroy to stop the cops completely.
The graphics in Bar Defender are really simple at first glance, but as I have played it for longer sessions I can really appreciate the cubist era inspiration. I am not versed in art but the combination of Picasso, Esche and thrown beer is really appealing.
Music is poor though, and it annoys me that I can’t play my own music at all. Rock riffing, and unmemorable jazz mashed with country music that never becomes grating but doesn’t add any pleasure either. Sound effects are ok, but I would have liked to have one-liners from the barfly, and the cops and workers.
In the reviewed version 1.0 there are no high scores available, but according to the App Store page online highscores are on the way in a future update. There is also a lack of achievements, and unlockables.
Gameplay does get repetitive, and paired with the poor music I tend to only complete one or two levels each time I play Bar Defender. It does save your game letting you carry on from the level you reached, and you also get to continue from the saved game when your bar gets destroyed. I like the setting of this castle defense game, the humour and the strangely artsy graphics. At $2.99 it is on the expensive side when it comes to content, and hopefully either future updates bring more or the publisher lowers the price.
**UPDATE** after reading our review the publishers have decided to lower the price to 99 cents.